I love being on the road when it comes to a campaign. People act like the traveling is the hard part a lot of the time. It’s not. It’s the downtime. It’s the bus that you take to school the day before final exams. You want to savor the proverbial bus ride because before long, you’re going to have real challenges and real difficulties ahead of you and you don’t know how it’s going to go for you or whomever you’re managing.
I like being on the road and seeing the United States. That’s actually one of the best parts about being anyone’s campaign manager. You actually get to see big portions of the country that you’re trying to run. You can really get the chance to experience the ways in which the United States is different all over. People still try to talk about how the US is really just ‘us.’ If there’s one thing that I can tell you about being a campaign manager, it is that this is not the case.
The US looks different everywhere. The customs and personalities of the people that you are likely to meet will be different everywhere. Everything about this place is completely different from one area to the next, and that is what people are going to have to realize if they are actually interested in finding a way to succeed in elections. The US is a lot of different cultures in one. It always has been. It always will be. You will see it for yourself when you are on the road again, transitioning from the endless forests of the Pacific Northwest and New England to the endless Great Plains of the Midwest to the lake towns to the deserts and to the mountains. You’ll see it in the different campaign issues that people will bring up, and you’ll see it as you try to convince your electorate of different things in different areas.
One of the great things about local government is that this is less of a problem. You’re still going to have to deal with disparate cultures, since even in a state, people are going to be different from one another in a lot of very real ways. People who live in cities and people who live in the suburbs have a very different cultural experience. People who live in the country, if applicable, are even more different still. There is no way of getting around the fact that running a campaign means trying to appeal to a lot of different people at once, and they don’t act like a fluid and solid electorate even when all of you live within the same state lines.
However, once again, it is exciting to see your home state. It’s cool to see the different ways that so many different people can experience the same area. From there, you can start to see things from their perspective a little bit more. You can get a sense of how they live their lives. We all see the same sky at night and during the day, but you have to see it from their corner. I think that this is one of the benefits of actually traveling from place to place during a campaign and that this is one of the things that we’ll lose if the campaigns of the future go online entirely.